James Bond films tend to run in a cycle from camp to gritty, each change in direction heralded by a new leading man.
The pantomime era – best exemplified by Roger Moore’s safari suit in 1974 - reached its nadir when Pierce Brosan drove an invisible Aston Martin across a lake in Die Another Day, a moment so ridiculous it paved the way for Daniel Craig and Casino Royale to reboot the franchise and toughen Bond up again, picking up where Timothy Dalton left off with License To Kill (the only film to be given a 15 certificate, thanks to a man burning to death at its denouement).
On and on the cycle goes, from silly to serious and back again, reflecting, as films do, the life and times outside the cinema. This week we learned the next Bond film will retain the core team responsible for last year's Skyfall: Sam Mendes as director, John Logan as writer and Craig as 007. Austerity-era Bond is with us for one more film at least.
Then there are the Bond girls. In accordance with the times, they’ve followed a familiar trajectory from the pretty punch lines of 007’s jokes in the 60s and 70s to smart, strong and sassy in 2013. Which isn’t, of course, to posit the series as any kind of triumph for feminism: Bond girls are still exclusively beautiful, exclusively heroines or femme fatales and exclusively weak at the knees whenever James turns on the charm.
Penelope Cruz has already been confirmed as the next Bond girl – a choice partly designed to mirror Craig’s advancing years (he’s 45, she’s 39) – which seems an inspired choice for an actress who needs to tick all the blockbuster boxes whilst still injecting her character with enough depth and gravatis to keep the franchise moving with the times.
Invariably though, the films include a second Bond girl, often in a smaller part (and often dying early on). Here we’ve rounded up a few suggestions for the actresses we’d love to see take on the role. For the future of Britain biggest film franchise it’s a serious matter - Skyfall may have done away with the gadgets, the quips and M, but one ingredient no Bond film will ever survive without is its girls.
Click on the picture to see who we're nominating.